State funding has been secured toward working to find a remedy to Ocean Beach’s iconic, yet deteriorating pier.
The City is also moving forward in forming a broad-based advisory group to figure out what to do about the pier and find a solution for its problems.
“The state recently was able to allocate $8.4 million for the OB Pier,” said Venus Molina, chief of staff for District 2 Councilmember Jen Campbell. “Our office is also looking into securing other funding at both state and federal levels working with State Sen. Toni Atkins and Congressman Scott Peters.”
“We understand the City has secured some funding for the pier for the fiscal year 2022,” said Denny Knox, executive director of Ocean Beach MainStreet Association. “But it’s not clear if it is for studies of the pier, or for actual repairs.”
Knox noted she sent a list of individuals who’ve expressed interest in serving on a pier committee to the District 2 Council Office.
A recently released, City-commissioned report by Moffatt & Nichol found the 55-year-old landmark OB Pier has “reached the end of its service life” due to repeated structural damage from seasonal winter storms. “To ensure the continued use of the structure, deficiencies must be addressed,” concluded the Moffatt & Nichol report, which offered three options – repair, rehabilitation, and replacement – for remediation of the pier’s eroding structure. All three alternatives would be costly with repair estimates starting at about $50 million.
Noting addressing pier issues is “one of Campbell’s major priorities and is of significant importance to our communities and the region,” her office said it is in the early stages of getting a pier group together to be comprised of local community members, business leaders, and others interested in voicing their input. The group is expected to start meeting in the coming weeks to begin formalizing the group’s structure, frequency of meetings, and role.
Campbell’s office said her goal in forming the committee is to provide a forum for sharing ideas and relaying their input to department and mayoral staff as decisions are being made on the pier’s future.
More than 50% of some 400 respondents in a recent Ocean Beach Town Council poll on the OB Pier indicated they wanted it repaired for immediate partial reopening or rebuilt altogether. A total of 45.4% of respondents wanted the pier rehabilitated for full reopening. The survey was conducted online from May 15-25.
Meanwhile, Point Loma residents continue to weigh-in on the pier, its future, and whether continuing to repair it, replace it, or eliminate it and spend the money elsewhere is in the community’s and region’s best interest.
Mark Winkie, Ocean Beach Town Council president, expressed concern that there doesn’t appear to be a “sense of urgency” about addressing the pier and its erosion issues.
“It’s been quite frustrating,” Winkie said. “There needs to be a broad spectrum of people advising the City on the next steps. We were told this was going to start to happen.”
Added Winkie: “Seeing it demolished or removed, that’s not for me. If you look at the way the pier has been designed, there’s a very low point in it, and it’s very susceptible to wave action. Spending money without changing the structure would be a waste of time in the long run. The only way is really to build a new pier using new materials with approved state and federal guidelines.”
“Repair the pier, it’s iconic,” said Midway resident Tod Howarth.
“Rebuild and design the pier with community beneficial items such as information and an education center (plaques that educate about the local environment and area) and add renewable energy systems,” said Tracy Dezenzo of Ocean Beach. “New bathrooms would be great too.”
“The OB Pier has been a staple for more than 50 years,” said Robert Tripp Jackson of Point Loma. “Depending on our economic abilities for the expense, it needs attention of some sort now. Possibly an interim fix should be planned with a budget for replacement in four to six years.”